About swale space champions

Find out more about the project, who we are and what we're trying to achieve

We were inspired to apply for funding to make Swale Space Champions a reality after taking part in the ACE Ambassador programme. Professionals were brought together to learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trauma Informed Practice. The programme provided the opportunity to discuss and collaborate on our experiences of supporting individuals, children and families within the community, and to consider how the training could adapt our practice.

In the Swale area, there are 57 schools with over 23,000 children on roll within these schools.

Of this, 19.9% are eligible for free school meals and 4,792 families met the Troubled Families Headline Criteria in January 2020.

Research proves that these children and families are most at risk of ACEs.

By educating schools and agencies that work with children and families, we want to mitigate some of the risk factors and reduce the potential impacts of ACEs in adulthood.

From June 2019-May 2020, 38% of all reported crimes were violent in Sittingbourne and Sheppey.

This is a community issue and while violent behaviour is often viewed as a stand-alone action, it can be a way of expressing difficult emotions. Often, it is learned behaviour and the only way someone knows to express difficult feelings.

Introducing a trauma informed approach would involve looking at what has happened to that person to cause them to act in this way, rather than focusing on the violent act alone.

This change in thinking and practice could lead to supporting offenders to make changes rather than simply enforcing sanctions.

We believe supporting the community from the school level and beyond will have a positive impact on these figures, as changes in practice and understanding act as preventative measures. Supporting people rather than simply applying sanctions would help to reduce the chance of offending and referrals to the social care system. We would aim to support children and adults in the community to build resilience and find other outlets for their emotions.

Our programme centres around the development of a network of ‘ACE Champions’, invited from a variety of organisations within the Swale area. The ACE Champions will attend a training session on ACEs and Trauma Informed Practice, and they will have the opportunity to build relationships with fellow professionals and collaborate on ideas for system change.

By educating our ‘Champions’, we hope that organisations will support them to implement changes and see the need to seek out further whole staff training, with a common goal of implementing Trauma Informed Practice throughout organisations in Swale.



Jo Henderson
I am a very proud but busy Mum of four, with a gorgeous oversized puppy named Loki. I love getting outside with the family and I've developed a real passion for trauma informed practice and mental health. I am a qualified Mindfulness Teacher and a strong advocate for lifelong learning.

My employment background is in education, having worked in schools for 6 years while studying for my degree in Education Studies. I had a strong focus on outdoor learning and integrating a trauma informed approach into the whole school ethos. I began working for Sateda in June and alongside this, I am just about to complete my Certificate in Trauma and Mental Health Informed Schools and Communities through the University of East London. I am also currently working on my MSc in Psychology. I am really excited to be writing and delivering the training for this project and will continue to offer this training in the future.
Lucy Wakefield
I have always been very passionate about supporting women and spent 12 years working for Amicus Horizon, initially as a Support Worker at Swale women’s refuge, before going on to manage the scheme. I then had some time off to spend with my 3 children before working for Seashells Children’s Centre as Family Support Worker (Community Safety Lead).

I am now the Service Manager for Sateda and decided to get involved in this project as I don’t believe people can live the life that they want to with unaddressed childhood adversity.

In my spare time I love spending time with my crazy family and 2 rescue dogs Freddie and Nutty!!
Kim Green
I am the Family Outreach Coordinator at Seashells Children & Families Centre in Sheerness and I've been supporting families with their children’s learning and development for over 10 years. Seashells is at the heart of the community and believes in working together to give children and families the best opportunities in life.

As mum to two busy teenagers, 3 energetic cats and working full time, I understand and appreciate the challenges that family life can bring. I'm passionate and committed to helping others to feel supported to enjoy and improve their lives.
Mandy Turner
I am the Youth Hub Delivery manager for Swale Youth Hub and have been in this role since November 2019. I've been a Youth Worker for over 15 years and I also have experience working in the Youth Justice system.

I am a mother of two young children and love cycling and running in my spare time.

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